by Chris Haire
It's one of those strange days.
The kind when you feel like maybe there's something truly weird going on.
The kind that makes you wonder if a coincidence is always just a coincidence.
The kind that makes you wonder if somebody somewhere is busy scribbling jokes and our lives are the punch lines.
Just yesterday as we were proofing the final pages of the annual Best of Charleston issue, we noticed an ad announcing that Days of the New was coming to town.
Maybe you remember them, maybe you don't.
They were hacks of the first order. Hell, they were out and out thieves who took the essence of all that was grunge and they ran it through a pop-friendly acoustic sieve and out trickled radio-ready pablum, devoid of meaning and substance.
"Touch, Peel and Stand," "The Down Town," and "Shelf in the Room." You know the tunes. Or at least you did at the time.
Now, Days of the New has been forgotten. And rightfully so.
And while their hackery played some part in this, so did the ongoing trials and tribulations of the band's frontman and principle songwriter Travis Meeks.
Meeks is a recovering meth addict, whose most recent claim to fame was appearing on an episode of "Intervention."
But now he's back on tour, and he was scheduled to be in town this week. And according to the ad you'll see in today's paper, Mike Starr, former bassist for Seattle grunge rock scenesters Alice in Chains, was to join him on stage.
As many of you know, Starr also brought his troubles to prime time, appearing on "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew." Last month, Starr was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance.
Now, we thought this was a curious pairing. A former meth addict and an opiate fiend who was recently arrested for possession. Surely, this was a sign that all was not well with the two, that they had finally kicked their habits.
It doesn't matter now. Mike Starr is dead. His body was found in his Salt Lake City home yesterday. According to a Seattle newspaper, "details about the cause or circumstances of the 44-year-old's death were not immediately available."
And apparently, not all is well at the "Celebrity Rehab" house.
Yesterday, the police were reportedly called to the treatment facility. One of this year's stars, actress Bai Ling, was on the roof of the facility. While TMZ reports that a police presence was not necessary, the fact that someone called the police to assist her is of note.
Now was this a conscious attempt at publicity or a cry for help? Who knows.
However, it appears that at least one member of the "Celebrity Rehab" cast isn't what she claimed to be.
Perhaps you remember Michaele Salahi, a current cast member of the "Real Housewives of DC." Previously, Salahi and her husband were most famous for sneaking into the White House uninvited.
Well, now word is out that Salahi has been kicked off the show. Why? She's not a junkie; she's just an attention whore, or so claims TMZ:
Sources on the set tell us Michaele was asked to leave because she has "no addiction," and thus had "no reason to be there."
Over the weekend we got Tareq Salahi out in Los Angeles who told us that Michaele's only addiction was "probably to chocolate."
And then there is Tiger's Blood-drinking Charlie Sheen.
At first, Sheen's appearances on TV were startling. In fact, they were almost exhilarating for their full-on weirdness and shock value.
But now the shock has worn off, and the sad truth of the matter is that, well, it's all just kind of sad. We are watching a man come completely undone before our very eyes. And not only that, but it increasingly seems as if Sheen is heading down the road where there are only two option before him: Death, live and streaming to you on the internet, or a 24/7 feed of Sheen getting clean — the fevers, the shakes, the nausea, the temporary dementia.
And that is the story in the age of Junkie Chic that is all too briefly told. We revel in the excess, the tragedy, the bumbling, stumbling moments of stupidity — see, the episodes of "Celebrity Rehab" during which Steven Adler and Shifty Binzer relapse or any episode of "Intervention" for that matter — but we don't see the long painful recovering.
The truth of the matter is we don't want Steven Adler, Shifty Binzer, Bai Ling, or Charlie Sheen — especially Charlie Sheen — to recover, at least not while the cameras are rolling and they are still finding new and novel ways to humiliate themselves for our amusement.